Can I "dry can" grocery store noodles?

by Linda
(Rosharon, Tx)


Hi,
Can I dry can the noodles, pasta, rice and beans from the grocery store by putting them in a Mason jar with and oxygen absorber? I would like to "dry can" full meals such as chicken Alfredo.
I have just purchased a dehydrator and I am awaiting delivery.
Thanks for the Help.
Linda

RESPONSE:

Hi Linda,

In a word - yes. Noodles, pasta, rice and beans are already dry so, yes, you can store them in Mason jars with an O2 absorber. However, dry canning full meals in a Mason jar is fine - for the veggies, pasta, and dry ingredients, but it's not good to put the meat in with it. You can dehydrate meat until it is crisp, but meat has fat/oil in it and should be kept in the freezer long term. It's best not to mix dry ingredients with fat/oil ingredients in your bottles.

This is a great idea. Come back and let us know how it turns out for you!

~Joan

P.S. You will LOVE your dehydrator! I use mine all the time.

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Dried Meat in Jars?
by: Anonymous

So I'm confused- I have a book that shows how to dry hamburger, but doesn't say how to store it. I thought it meant you could put it in the jars as well. If I didn't put this in individual jar recipes, should I freeze it?

RESPONSE:

You can store it in jars as long as it is so dry that it is crisp and no fat/oil is on the meat. If you choose to store it in bottles, you should put oxygen absorbers in so it will store longer. Still, meat should not be stored for a real long time - not like 25 years - but it should be good for about a year.

Meats should be cooked before dehydrating also, unless you are making jerky with it.

Or you can put it in freezer bags and toss in the freezer. If the bags are vacuum sealed, the meat should be good for several years.

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To box or unbox, that is the question.

by JL Ray
(Borrego Springs, CA)


I live in the desert in Southern California in a tiny very old 1 bedroom mobile home that is always hot (Christmas is regularly 85-90 Deg.). How do I store food in such a hot environment, I wish I had some place outside but my connex containers are even hotter than my trailer.

When storing items such as powdered milk, dry cereal and pasta, should I remove them from their original packages and repackage them in vacuum bags and then in Mylar or leave them in their original packages. Keep in mind that my trailer leaks like a sieve when the wind blows and sand accumulates in every crevasse like nobody's business. Right now the only place I have room to store my food storage is in my bedroom closet, just about the hottest room in the house.

ANSWER:

My best recommendation for you is to rotate your storage more often. Heat is the worst enemy of long term storage; therefore, if I were you, I would not count on storing food longer than 3-6 months. This makes it very important that you only store what you normally eat.

If you are not storing food for long term (years), there is no need to put the food in Mylar bags and then buckets. Items like pasta, rice, powdered milk, and many other food items could be kept in glass canning jars with the lids tightly screwed on. This will make it easier to use the food and keep out the sand that may seep into your home.

Another suggestion, purchase freeze-dried or dehydrated foods in #10 cans. Most of these will last 25+ years, but in your case, rotate them more often, maybe every 5 years, and use the food in your daily menus.

Possibly this page, Food Storage System, may give you some additional ideas on where to store your extra food.

I hope any of this helps - you have a tougher situation than those who live in four season areas.

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There are 4 seasons?? Who knew.
by: JL Ray

I am trying to accumulate a long-term food storage. Where are places that can provide a lower temp when the temperature is so high? Would a non-working fridge or freezer inside my connex box make much of a temperature difference. I would love to build something underground but we get earthquakes and sand doesn't stand by itself very well, and I'm a widow with limited income.

ANSWER:

It might help - a little. But a working fridge would definitely work better - even if you kept the temperature in the fridge at 70 degrees rather than the normal fridge temp.

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Original packaging and mylar bags?

I have packed into large mylar bags salt, pasta, and pinto beans in their original package using 2000cc o2 absorbers...do I have to re-do this and take it out of the original package?

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Can prepackaged food be stored long term?


Would putting prepackaged food.. cereal, pudding, spices regular grocery store items in its original packaging in mylar bags and then buckets for long term storage extend the shelf life?

ANSWER:

Maybe for a little while longer if kept cool and dry, but store-bought and packaged foods are not prepared, nor packaged for long-term storage. They would need to be freeze-dried or frozen to extend their shelf life for any significant amount of time.

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Storing Pre-boxed Dinners

by Anonymous


Can you take a box of Rice-A-Roni, put in a small Mylar bag with an O2 along with the special seasoning mix? And what if that seasoning mix has sugar listed as one of the ingredients? I've heard you should not use O2 with sugar.

ANSWER:

It is true that you should not use O2 absorbers when storing sugar, but I doubt there's enough sugar in Rice-A-Roni to matter.

My question is (and I don't mean so sound rude), but why would anyone want to store pre-packaged foods that, 1) no one knows how long they last and, 2) have tons of chemicals and preservatives that are not healthy for our bodies?

Store properly sealed cans of rice with a shelf life of 30+ years. Store chicken or beef bouillon and a variety of vegetables and favorite spices and make your own chemical-free, preservative-free Rice-A-Roni.

Here's an idea for storing ingredients for a whole meal or an entire recipe in the same sealed bucket: Storing Multiple Foods in the Same Bucket. Maybe this will work for you.

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storing pre-boxed dinners
by: Mikki

Pre-boxed dinners may not be as good as fresh food, but if all you have is a pan and some water, it will fill your tummy. I recently found a box of Kraft mac and cheese, the original, dated 2010 in my pantry. Cooked it, ate it, and did not die. Pre-boxed dinners will last longer than stated. I rotate my food, normally. Stock up on what you can afford and don't pack these foods in buckets. Replace as you use.

I'm 73 and can remember how long it took for the depression to end. I was in the 3rd. grade before my parents could get off the govt. dole. I guess that is why I dry can and buy long term supplies. Good luck.

RESPONSE:
You are correct and this is good advice. Thanks for sharing.

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Prepackaged Foil Dehydrated Foods

by Penelope
(WV, US)

Is it necessary to put pre-packaged foil dehydrated foods in Mylar bags with the absorbers? The items are from a health food store..

Thank you.

RESPONSE:

Most foods purchased in the store are not packaged for long term storage. So to answer your question, I must answer with two questions?

1) How long are you planning to store the items? A month? A year? Many years?

2) Are the items packaged specifically for long term storage with O2 absorbers or vacuum packed?

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Can you store food with the original bag?

by Annie
(Florida)

Hi, I have no experience with storing dried food. I just start learning. Would you please tell me if I can store food with its original bag in a Mylar Bag and add oxygen absorbers?

I am sorry, but I don't speak very well English.
Annie

ADMIN. ANSWER

Hi Annie,

It depends on what food product you are storing. If you are trying to store something you bought at the grocery store, then you should just leave it in its original packaging and use it by its expiration date.

If you bought a food product like a 25 or 50 pound bag of wheat, oats, or beans, then you would need to pour the contents out of the original bag and into a 5-6 gallon food storage bucket lined with a Mylar bag inside. This is where you would use the oxygen absorbers. You can watch a couple of videos on the food storage containers page on this site that shows exactly how to do it.

I hope I have answered your question correctly. I need a bit more information to be sure. Please write again if you need more information, or browse through this site to see if there are answers to your questions.

I'm happy you are learning about food storage - it is important.

~Joan

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Grocery Store Packaging and Long Term Storage



Dried rice, legumes, peas, etc. come in plastic bags from the grocery store. For long term storage, should I use additional packaging? Thanks

RESPONSE:

Short answer - yes.

Longer answer: If you are planning to store dried foods long term, you would save quite a bit of money buying them in bulk and packaging in Mylar bags inside 5 gallon buckets with O2 absorbers.

You can get pretty good prices if you buy bulk from stores like Sam's Club, Costco, or even your local grocery store may order in bulk for you. Whole Foods sells bulk foods but they are more expensive (but good quality).

Emergency preparedness stores also carry bulk foods already packaged for long term storage in either 5 gallon buckets or #10 cans. Stores like The Ready Store or Emergency Essentials will have everything you need.

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Storing Prepackaged Foods Long Term

by Linda
(Illinois)

Prepackaged Foods

Prepackaged Foods

Prepackaged Foods
FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer

I have many prepackaged foods that are in a Mylar like bag. For instance Bear Creek Soups, cornbread mix, potatoes, candies, rice, and lots of desserts.

For long term storage do these need to be taken out of original packaging and resealed in Mylar with O2 or are they ok as is?

How long will they store as is?

Also, how do I tell if they are free of insects before sealing them? Don't want to be eating bugs.

RESPONSE:

Store-bought prepackaged foods are not packaged for long term storage, unless they are vacuum packed, which most are not. So, yes, they would need to be packaged in Mylar with 02 absorbers or vacuum packed with a FoodSaver or other brand vacuum/sealing system. You don't have to take the food out of their original packaging, unless you just want to. Just discard the box (if there is one) and put a small hole in the Mylar-like bag so the O2 can absorb all the oxygen.

How long they will store "as is"? Check this chart on the page, Food Storage Chart for each food product.

Now for insects, it's really larvae from the flour weevil. They can develop into adult weevils if left long enough with plenty of oxygen. Most dry foods contain weevil larvae, unless they are already vacuum packed. Weevils and their larvae or eggs cannot live in an oxygen-free environment; nor can any other types of bugs. You cannot see the larvae so you can't tell if the food is "free of insects"; you just assume they are not and eliminate the oxygen.

I have always stored my flour in the freezer. Freezing does not kill the larvae, but it keeps them from hatching into adult weevils - which are really a type of beetle. For long term storage of flour and other dried foods, vacuum packing or O2 absorbers will also keep the larvae from hatching and they will die without oxygen.

By the way, most candies will last indefinitely without any special packaging because they are all or mostly sugar. Sugar doesn't need O2 absorbers, so neither does candy. It will probably get harder, and chocolate will get a white coating, but it is still edible. And it must be packaged to keep insects out - glass or rigid plastic containers. (Ants LOVE sugar.)

I hope I've fully answered your questions. If not, please feel free to ask more.

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Prepacked Food
by: Dee

I went to Wal-Mart the other day and picked up a box of Hamburger Helper and looked and the "Best By" date which was only good for 8 months. I had thought about buying a bunch of it and vacuum sealing it with an 02 absorber. I know I want have the meat to go with it,(unless I kill a deer or a bird) but I figured what's the difference in Hamburger Helper and some of the gourmet meals that you buy from EE or Wise. I haven't figured the cost difference yet.

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Can I store Lipton tea long term?

by Anonymous

Can you tell me if its possible to store Lipton tea bags in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers? If so, what would the maximum shelf life be to maintain the taste quality?

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Storing Lipton Tea
by: Joan

I'm sure it's possible given the method you're using - Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers. I just can't tell you for sure how long they would last, but definitely much longer than in their original packaging just sitting on a shelf - maybe several years, as long as the bag is kept sealed.

Storing Tea
by: Anonymous

I just put up 6 boxes this way then I read somewhere that the moisture in the o2 absorber would cause the tea to mold. Is that true?

ANSWER

I don't believe so. From what I've read, o2 absorbers don't contain moisture, but they need just a bit of moisture to activate. Whatever moisture is in the air (humidity) as you pack food products is just enough to activate the o2 absorbers.

You could use a desiccant also, but do not let the desiccant and the o2 absorber touch. If you use a desiccant, put it in the bottom of the container, then put in all the tea bags, then put the o2 absorber on top. And don't use more than one desiccant as it will take out all the moisture, which will then not allow the o2 absorber to activate properly.

Oxygen Absorbers
by: 808prepper

Can I put too many absorbers in a gallon size bag? Will it affect in anyway.

ANSWER

No, won't hurt anything.

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Potato Flake Transfer

If I were to vacuum seal potato flakes in box in mylar bags would this extend the life of the boxed flakes? If so how long. Thanks

RESPONSE:

Discard the box. Just dump the potato flakes right into the Mylar bag, put in oxygen absorbers and seal the bag. They will probably last 10-20 years.

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How can I safely store grocery store purchases?
by: Tina

I am just beginning my "long term" storage. My pantry is usually full (I could feed my family for a few months without going to the grocery, except for milk)...but I'm new to the long term scene.

My question is this...I intend to purchase dehydrated foods from reputable sources and repackage them into meal size portions. Since this can be expensive, I'd like to pad my long term food storage by repackaging grocery store foods.

For example, I'd like to store pasta, dried beans and rice. If I understand correctly, I can do so by simply storing them in mylar bags with the appropriate O2 absorber. Right?

Also, I'd like to store packages of instant oatmeal...add-water only soup mixes (such as Bear Creek)...and instant potatoes in meal-size portions. Would this be acceptable? I'm guessing I could dump the potatoes into a mylar bag, toss in an O2 absorber and seal. How would I store the Bear Creek soup...dump the contents in a mylar and add the O2 absorber? Is it possible to store the instant oatmeal in it's original packages inside a sealed mylar with an O2 absorber? I'm not sure of the moisture content of say a brown sugar, instant oatmeal packet.

Thanks for any guidance...Tina

Safely Storing Grocery Store Purchases
by: Joan

Tina, most grocery store purchases can be stored as you suggested, which will definitely prolong the shelf life of each food. The important factor is whether or not there is some type of oil or fat listed in the ingredients. I don't know if Bear Creek soups have any in their ingredients - check the label.

You could easily leave the products in their original packaging (like Bear Creek) to keep the cooking instructions handy. Just open the package a bit so that the O2 absorbs the oxygen out of the entire package and put it into Mylar and seal. Do the same with the oatmeal.

Store-bought pasta, dried beans, and rice are already dehydrated and are no different than the same products purchased from an emergency preparedness store. Just put into Mylar with the O2 absorbers and seal.

Just remember that the fat/oil content in any food will determine the shelf life. No fat - long shelf life. Some fat/oil - shorter shelf life.

Check this page for more info on long term shelf life of foods: Food Storage Shelf Life for Long Term Storage.

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Storing Corn Flakes

by Karen
(Sanford, ME. USA)

How would I store corn flakes and crystal light drink mix long term? Would I remove from packaging first to put in mylar bags?

RESPONSE:

Store-bought products are not meant to be stored long term - meaning 20-25 years. They should, however, be fine if stored for 2 or 3 years. Store them in a cool, dry place. Just be sure and rotate them. When you use a box, buy a new one to replace it. Put the purchase date on each box.

There is no need to put them in Mylar bags. Mylar bags are for long term storage and should be used with oxygen absorbers. Corn flakes would either be crushed when the O2 absorbers suck out the oxygen, or you wouldn't be able to use enough of them to eliminate all the oxygen.

Just consider these items "medium" term storage items and rotate accordingly.

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Storing boxes of cereal
by: Anonymous

I have some food storage buckets (but do not have the seals) that are rectangle shaped. Could I store boxed cereal in them to keep out bugs?. I am arranging my food storage by expiration dates on cans or boxes.

RESPONSE:
Don't see any reason why not. Sounds like a plan.

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Storing Boxed Cereal - Or Not

by Delilah
(McCalla, AL U.S.)

Make Your Own Granola

Make Your Own Granola

Re: Boxed cereal (corn flakes, rice crispies, etc). Can boxed cereals be placed in mylar bags with oxygen absorber to increase the shelf life and prevent staleness? If so, how long would they last?

RESPONSE:

You can, but I personally wouldn't. There is so much air in those cereals (and not much else) that I would not know how many O2 absorbers it would take to make them truly oxygen free. If they're not oxygen free, they will get stale.

It would be much better to store the ingredients for, say, granola including oats, sunflower seeds, almonds (or other nuts), dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, etc.), cinnamon, vanilla, honey or raw sugar, dried flaked coconut. Anything you like can be put into the granola.

If you make your own cereal, as needed, you know exactly what goes into it - healthy grains, fruits, seeds, or nuts, and no chemicals or preservatives.

Another option for long term breakfast products is freeze dried granola, eggs and ham, and pancake mix - all are already packed for long term storage.

Here's a recipe I have used and like:

MASTER GRANOLA MIX


Ingredients:
1 cup favorite unsalted nuts (use 2 kinds if you like)
2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup dried fruit (your choice)
1/2 cup honey or raw sugar
3/4 cup butter, coconut oil, olive oil or your favorite
1 teaspoon cinnamon, allspice or pumpkin pie spice (your choice)

Optional: 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional: 1/4 cup seeds (sunflower, pumpkin or your choice)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (163 C). Place dried fruits, raisins or berries in a separate bowl (you will add those after baking). Melt the butter or put your choice of oil in a small bowl. Combine the spice and sweetener into the oil and stir well.

In a larger bowl, add the nuts, rolled oats, seeds and vanilla, mix well. Pour the oil mixture over the dry ingredients and stir well to blend.

Lightly oil two baking sheets for this amount of mix. Transfer the granola to the baking sheets, spreading it evenly across the sheet. Bake for approximately 20 to 30 minutes or until it is golden brown. (Bakes more evenly if stirred half way through the cooking time.)

Remove from oven and let cool completely. Break it into small chunks if necessary. Add the dried fruits and berries into the mix. Try a small sample...yum! Store in an airtight container labeled with name and date.

Yields: Approx. 4 cups
Shelf Life: 4 to 5 months (if it lasts that long)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thanks for asking, Delilah. I hope this helps and that you like granola and enjoy making your own.

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Storing Dry Cereals

by Debbie Sykes
(Yulee Florida USA)

Storing Dry Cereals

Storing Dry Cereals

I have several boxes of dry cereal can they be prepackaged in a food grade safe bucket with oxy packs for longer storage?

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Storing Dry Cereals
by: Joan

Yes, you can, and yes it will provide a longer shelf life for dry cereals.

Even food storage stores sell buckets of dried cereal, like Mini Frosted Squares, Frosted Flakes, Honey & Oat Clusters, Toasted Cinnamon, Fruit O's, Cocoa Crunchies, and Berry Crunchy, as well as several hot cereals. (You'll find these at The Ready Store.)

So, if they can do it, so can you. :)

Thanks for asking a really good question!

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